Sorry this is a little late in coming. The good news is I have had lots of time to think about the finale and here are my thoughts:
Overall this was a very good episode but a bit confusing and somewhat frustrating. The Jacob storyline / backstory was definitely the most interesting and satisfying. This includes the connected story of Ben and FakeLocke making their journey and visit to the statue. A little less satisfying but still good was the Illana / Lapidus thread and the Sun / Richard thread. The most frustrating story involved Sawyer / Juliet / Kate. I was getting whip-lashed with the number of changes in motivation as to their going back to the island and working against and then for Jack. But I was pretty happy with the ending (even though we need to wait 8 months to see what happens next). So here goes.
Jacob – He appears to be a force for good on the island. Although its possible that the writers still have an opening if they want to make him bad. He was there for the pivotal moments in the lives of our castaways. Jacob is literally and figuratively weaving together a great story for them. Hopefully one that has a happy ending even through all the misery they have endured. He believes that mankind is good but makes mistakes. He lets them choose their path and nudges them to do the right thing. Jacob never forces people to make a certain choice, but he wants them to make the right choice. He may also have healing powers with his touch. His dying words were “they are coming”. Who are “they”. It could be Illana’s group or Jack’s group. I am not sure.
FakeLocke aka Esau – This guy has not been given a name yet, so I will call him FakeLocke in honor of what we used to call Ben (FakeHenry or Fenry). He looks to be evil given his dark shirt, his plan to kill Jacob (out of jealousy most likely), and his deception of pretending to be John Locke and somehow taking over his body in an elaborate plan that went back at least 150 years. FakeLocke found his loophole by tricking Ben and Richard into believing he was Jacob’s chosen leader. Richard knew he was not but the tests he had given Locke over the years that Locke failed (picking the objects). Ben was also tricked when he told Locke to kill his father, but Locke used Sawyer to accomplish that. He believes that men are destructive and only mess up paradise (the island). They should be shut out from the island so he can rule it and keep it “pure”.
Jacob and FakeLocke conflict – I think there are at least three ways to look at this.
- Jacob and FL are brothers like in the bible story between Jacob and Esau. Esau is the oldest (by a few minutes) and therefore qualifies to inherit the family treasures (which in the bible is to serve God and share in his kingdom by receiving His blessings). Here the inheritance might be the island and all its powers. But Jacob is told he will be the one to get the inheritance. So with his mom’s help he rushes ahead of God’s timeline and tricks his brother and his father to get the inheritance. But Esau is also at fault because he never took the inheritance seriously. He literally sold it to Jacob for a bowl of soup when he got too hungry. This creates a huge rift with Esau vowing to kill Jacob (sound familiar) over control of the inheritance he had lost.
- Jacob and FL are Egyptian gods like Annubis, Taweret, and Sobek. I am not versed very much in gods and goddesses. My limited understanding tells me that the gods are all powerful over certain aspects of life (fertility and death being the prominent ones), but the gods cannot be supplanted or overruled or killed without some kind of trickery. We definitely see these manipulations going on in FL’s plan to kill Jacob.
- Jacob and FL are like God and Satan in the story of Job. In the classic bible book of Job, God and Satan argue over the loyalty of man. God shows Satan his servant Job, a righteous man by all accounts. Satan is not impressed. He thinks he only worships God because he was blessed by God with a big family and lots of material good (livestock and other riches). So God allows Satan to test Job to see if he will trust God even without these things. In the end, and through many hardships, Job does, but God never tells him about why he did this or even about Satan’s work. When Job questions God about the meaning of his suffering God answers basically by saying “What About You”. In other words, you are part of a much bigger story or tapestry I am weaving. All you need to do is trust me, because I will always get you to that better place (although you may not like the journey all the time).
I think its possible that the writers are trying to draw and touch on all three (and maybe some more) of these possible themes I just described.
Locke (the real one) – Locke falling out of the crate dead! This came as a total shock to me (Jeremy nailed it however). The explains the Locke we have seen this season on the island. The confident Locke, the more knowing Locke, was never really Locke at all. It was FakeLocke who had somehow taken his appearance and most of his personality. It made me wonder when this had taken place. Remember when Eko told Locke that you are “next”. Locke told the other islanders that Eko said “you all” are next. I wonder if Eko literally meant that Locke was the next victim of FakeLocke’s scheme to get to Jacob. FL probably used Ben and Richard as well to get the real Locke to the place where he thought he was “special” and the next leader, when in reality he was never meant to be. (It may be Jack or Jack and Kate, but you know I am probably biased in that direction). Poor Locke he was just a pawn in a game he knew nothing about. He loved to play games, but he was the one who was played. Now we know why we have seen two Locke’s on the island. The Good Locke who built Claire’s baby cradle and saved Jack’s life, and the Bad Locke who eats oranges with the peal on and beats up Charlie for trying to save Aaron.
Aaron – Speaking of which. Could Aaron be Jacob? Will he return to the island from the dead so to speak as a young boy named Aaron.
Richard/Ben/Ellie – Richard is Jacob’s right hand man, but he seems to have been tricked by FakeLocke. He has given messages from Jacob to Ben. But were they really from Jacob or did FakeLocke send them? Or were the messages a test actually sent by Jacob as a test for Ben? I am guessing Ben failed the test. His job may have been to select the next leader of the island, but he wanted to be leader himself which leads Jacob to say “What about you”. In other words Jacob was saying “I wanted you to choose the leader not to be one, but you usurped your authority so why are you so upset at me?” Ben was at the end of his rope obviously. He had made it back to the island. He thought he was being judged for allowing his daughter to die, but maybe he was judging himself for usurping his authority and FakeLocke tricked him into killing Jacob. Ellie is pregnant with Faraday so Richard stops her from getting near the radiation. This may be the cause for all the infertility problems on the island. Jughead’s detonator was removed, but the rest of bomb was still leaking radiation. It would also explain Ben’s tumor as he had been on the island the longest living directly over the bomb. Richard also says that Ellie is their true leader.
The Smoke Monster – Is the smoke monster causing these apparitions of dead people to appear (Yemmi, Alex, Christian)? I used to think so, now I wonder if it is FakeLocke. If he can pretend to be Locke in appearance and personality why not Alex and the others?
Illana / Bram / Lapidus – Jacob visited Illana in the hospital (what caused all those bandages?). He said he needed her help. So she makes her way back to him on flight 316. We still don’t know how she knew to get on that flight with the rest of the Jacob followers. My guess is that they are children of the island, who escaped on the sub before the Incident. Lapidus may be candidate for their group, but what qualifications are they looking for? I am guessing honesty, because Frank Lapidus has always been honest. Being honest means he has not been corrupted by FakeLocke in the eyes of Illana et al. Illana calls Richard by the name Ricardus (a famous economist’s name is David Ricardo who was influenced by Jeremy Bentham). Interesting. Now we know What Lies in the Shadows of the Statue, in latin it’s “Ille qui nos omnes servabit” (“He who will protect/save us all”).
Sawyer / Juliet / Kate and Jack – Okay this is very confusing. Kate can’t convince Sawyer to go back to the island to stop Jack from detonating the thermal nuclear device. Sawyer says “he” has decided to leave, which ticks off Juliet because she wants Sawyer to consult her in this decision. So Juliet decides to knock out a guard who is about to give them the sleeping pills for their journey home. Sawyer sees that Juliet is serious (and Kate too) and decides to go along. They row back to the island, find Jack and Sayid (who was shot for crying out he was carrying a thermal nuclear device), and make them stop their plan. Even though Sayid is dying, Jack takes five minutes out to talk with Sawyer man to man. Sawyer tries to talk Jack out of the plan because he likes his new life and Jack wants to ruin it. Jack is thinking of more than just Sawyer’s life, but is he misguided in thinking he knows the “right” way to “fix” things? Sawyer asks for the real reason Jack is doing this. He says he lost her (Kate) and there is no going back and what is meant to be will be. This enrages Sawyer who beats the crap out of Jack. This is a perfect echo to how Jack beat up Ben in the Season 3 finale. Ben was trying to save them from the freighter group led by Keamy. Sawyer is stopped by Juliet who says Jack is right. Wow, serious whiplash here! First she wants to stop Jack now she wants to help him. What is going on here? The reason we are given is that Juliet as commitment issues caused by her parents divorce. “They love each other but have to split up”. Juliet follows that pattern. I don’t really like this answer too much, so I am going to say that Juliet was given some information by Kate “off screen” which changed her mind. Kate is convinced by Jack that this is the only way to set things right. Kate has always followed Jack and I believe her (that is why I like Kate, sorry about that, I know that upsets some people).
Juliet – I want to just focus on her here. She says something very interesting. When they are about to go ahead with their plan to detonate the bomb she says “Live together, die alone”. It’s Jacks catch phrase and the title for the Season 2 finale – Live Together, Die Alone. In that episode Desmond turns the fail safe key which overrides the Electromagnetic system failure, thereby saving the island and the inhabitants from destruction (presumably). Des does this alone. In this episode it’s Juliet, and by her tragic choice to separate from Sawyer, who ends up in the same spot as Des doing the same job, but this time with the nuclear detonator not a key. Her choice is absolutely heartbreaking.
Overall – We keep hearing that what’s done is done and you can’t change the future, but I think we have already seen the future changed. The question is how big a change? Are the changes merely cosmetic or more permanent. Does Jacob hold everyone’s future in his hands? Will he be back to set things right once and for all and to write the final ending of story. The “story only ends once, everything before that is progress.”